Panasonic has announced a wide angle zoom lens for full frame L-mount, the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 16-35mm F4 (thankfully, they haven’t added further letters after the focal length).
The 16-35mm f/4 lens has 12 elements in 9 groups, including an extra-low dispersion element, ultra-high refractive element and three aspherical elements. It has nine circular aperture blades and a 77mm filter thread, focuses down to 25cm for a maximum magnification of 0.23x. The focusing system used is said to minimise focus breathing.
The lens weighs 500 grams and is sealed against dust and splashes of water. Panasonic also promises operation down to -10°C, the standard value claimed by most manufacturers.
This lens will be the only wide-angle zoom for L mount from Panasonic at least until the end of 2020, according to the public roadmap. It competes closely with a 16–35 f/3.5–4.5 lens from Leica, while the f/2.8 spot has arguably been taken by Sigma with its 14-24mm f/2.8 “Art” lens, and the impression I get is that there is considerable product coordination among L Mount Alliance members Sigma, Leica and Panasonic.
Some have expressed surprise at the “Pro” designation of this f/4 lens as well as the perceivedly high introductory pricing of US$1500. However, the competing Leica lens is US$5500 right now, while the Sigma, one stop faster, a bit wider, but with an overall smaller zoom range, is around US$1400. Among DSLR mount lenses, we might consider Tamron’s 15-30mm f/2.8, at $1200, its Pentax rebadge at $1300, or Canon’s 16-35mm f/4 , from 2014, street price $1000. So while we’d expect pricing to relax a little after launch, the 1500 Dollars seem to be in line with the general full frame market.
The Panasonic Lumix S Pro 16-35mm F4 will debut in January.